Summary: What are the four living creatures or the sea of glass? God’s holiness shines as we take a closer examination of the throne of God as revealed in Revelation 4.
Holy is the Lord
The last message looked at the two throne scenes that John saw. Now lets examine the throne a little closer. Begin by looking at Revelation 4:
6 Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.
7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.
8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!"
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
11 "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."
Around the throne is a sea of glass and four living creatures. Remember from our previous studies that John uses images to communicate truths about God that can’t be expressed in words. John’s understanding was opened up as he not only saw, but experienced the truth of God in ways that words can’t describe. John uses illustrations to communicate truths that are beyond the grasp of words. So he uses illustrations to explain how that seeing God went beyond his eyes to fill his understanding by touching every part of his being. How does one see the holiness of God experiencing it? John communicates that experience by stirring our ‘mind’s eye’ to go beyond our normal reasoning and attempts to give us a small taste of his heavenly vision.
Sea of Glass
The sea of glass is mentioned twice. Before the throne of hope, John said, “before the throne was a sea of glass, like crystal”. In Revelation 15, John again brings our attention to this sea as God’s plan unfolds:
15:2 And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.
The sea of glass represents the deep unsearchable judgments of God. The sea represents depth, and crystal represents purity. Romans 11:33 says, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” And Psalm 19 tells us that the law of God is perfect, His testimony is sure, His precepts are right; His commandments are pure; and His judgments are righteous. Those who desire them as gold will have a delivered soul, wisdom, a rejoicing heart, enlightened eyes, and by keeping them there is great reward.
The judgments of God are deeper than the sea and cannot be searched. God reveals these things to those who ask for wisdom and seek God with all their heart. God promised that He would reveal Himself to those who seek with all their heart – or as Proverbs 2 puts it, if you seek wisdom and understanding as if for a hidden treasure and cry out for discernment and understanding, you will find the knowledge of God. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright and is a shield to those who walk uprightly”. The Lord will guard your paths and preserve your way and you will understand righteousness, justice, equity and every good path (Proverbs 2:1-9). The understanding of the things of God can only be revealed by God.
The sea of glass is the unsearchable depths of God that are revealed to those who seek Him with all their heart. God said, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know”(Jeremiah 33:3). To cry for wisdom is not a confession of the mouth, but a complete surrender of the heart. Most Christians want to live for God, but the hardest thing you will ever do is give yourself to God in complete surrender. Each step that draws us closer to God is usually a battle, but none as great as the moment of complete surrender. I can remember committing myself to completely surrender many times, but in my heart I always held back. Almost unconsciously, that barrier of my will would always stand. Even if you verbally surrender every day, you will not truly surrender until you truly trust God. Even after I surrendered to the ministry and was actively serving God, I was not completely surrendered. But there was a moment in time when I set my heart on God’s plan and realized that there was nothing else. Like passing through a hedge, I surrendered and crossed over. Trust must come first. Complete trust means trusting everything God says. If I can’t trust God’s promise of satisfaction and fulfillment, I won’t completely yield. If I don’t trust God to meet my needs, I will not yield my financial life. If I can’t trust God’s promise that He will guide all my steps, I can’t trust God in my problems. If I can’t walk by faith, I will resent His commands. Until you trust God with all of your heart, you cannot surrender your heart completely to Him. That is the point when you will experience what David understood fully: